Opening Remarks by Stephen Zarlenga
Spoken on September 30, 2010
at the 6th Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference
by the Director of the American Monetary Institute
We began these annual meetings in September 2005 because we could see the direction things were going and world events required us to be ready when the crash came, with a solution that both identified and corrected the real source of the crises - our unjust and foolish “fractional reserve” money system, privatized to enrich corrupt, anti-human interests rather than to promote the general welfare.
The problem can no longer be denied and hidden behind lying economist’s excuses. The evil doers themselves, not just our hard working people were in deep trouble and have used their political power and corrupt connections to force the rest of us to rescue them.
What do I mean by evil? That term is rarely used in economics. Henry George used it successfully. In psychology, M. Scott Peck used it in his great book, The People of the Lie. Evil is the conscious blocking of humanity from developing to its best destiny or potential, for purposes of personal or political gain or due to mental illness. Evil can take the form of physical force (Hitler/Stalin/Robespierre/others); or fraud in the shape of a sophisticated financial deceit combining force and fraud, as the World’s money systems do today.
The classical ancient name for that is USURY. William Greider recently expanded the concept of usury on the Bill Moyers show, to its truer meaning, not merely high interest rates but to his more accurate description: “The financially powerful taking advantage of the financially weaker.”
The American Monetary Act can both solve the current crisis and fix the nations monetary system, and by the way it ends compound interest. We can and must enact monetary reforms that reverse the evil processes attacking the nations of the World, and allow our productive power to be properly and fairly used. Reforms that put time on the side of justice – to move back from the brink of nuclear destruction; away from a future dominated by fraud and ugliness and warfare toward a world of justice and beauty.
The American Monetary Institute is a publicly supported charity started in 96 by myself and Dr. Lucienne DeWulf, for the independent study of monetary history, theory and reform. The AMI continues as long as we have public support. Whatever helps that support is a force favoring reform. Whatever tries to harm that support is a force against reform – against humanity.
Our research results were published March 21, 2003 the same day Bush illegally invaded Iraq. In the Broadest terms the research found:
*A grand ongoing struggle over the control of money systems from at least Aristotle’s time.For example if you define money as wealth – say gold - then the wealthy will control. (modern result was the Great Depression)
*That this battle is fought through language where definitions serve as heavy artillery.
*That by misdefining the nature of money corrupt groups seize control over monetary ystems and then the society itself, deforming humanity in the process.
*That the main battle line is private control versus public control
*We found that the modern attack on government was launched to keep the monetary power in the then private Bank of England.
*We saw that a society’s concept of money determines whether it will be privately controlled to enrich the few or publicly controlled for the common good.
Define money as monetized bank credits as our banking system now does- and the bankers will be in control. (modern result – the current disaster!)
Define money as an abstract social power based in law – then the society can control the money system for the good of all. Many good examples exist in world history especially In US history we can point to the building of our colonies; winning our revolutionary separation from a crazy Brit King; and keeping the union whole in the Civil War.
Moneys’ Nature Must Dictate Monetary Reform. Do not confuse money with credit. That error makes it easier for the bankers to dominate, because they deal in credits. But we strongly differentiate between issuing the nations money, and being in the legitimate banking business.
OF GREAT IMPORTANCE we found that good, direct solutions to this problem had already been discovered and at least partially implemented with excellent results! We focused on these actual experiences, to develop the proposed American Monetary Act.
Our Method examines historical case studies as the facts on which theories must be based. This differs from the Austrian School of Economics for example, where Ludwig Von Mises said that his theories can never be disproved by mere facts!
Our method requires that overriding attention be given to the morality of money systems not just their mechanics. On page 656 we summarize what money is - what it is we are reforming. Noting our inheritance from past genius:
from Aristotle - “Money exists not by nature but by law;”Then after a long darkness,
from Plato - “a money token for purposes of exchange;”
from Roman Julius Paulus - “This device being officially promulgated, circulated and maintained its purchasing power not so much from its substance as from its quantity.”
from Anglican Bishop Berkeley - “Whether the true idea of money as such, be not altogether that of a ticket, or counter?;”We accept these concepts and add:
from Locke and Franklin who viewed money as a pledge for wealth rather than wealth itself;
from Knapp - “Our test, that the money is accepted in payments made to the states offices.”
and from Alexander Del Mar we have a sufficient definition:
“…what is commonly understood as money has always consisted, tangibly, of a number of pieces of some material, marked by public authority and named or understood in the laws or customs: that its palpable characteristic was its mark of authority; its essential characteristic, the possession of value, defined by law; and its function, the legal power to pay debts and taxes and the mechanical power to facilitate the exchange of other objects possessing value.”
Money’s essence (apart from whatever is used to signify it), is an abstract social power embodied in law, as an unconditional means of payment. This can be called a Societal or Constitutional or Aristotelian Concept of Money.
We owe a great deal to Aristotle:
He created the “Science of Money” as an abstract legal power.
He refused to discuss or argue over systems that had never actually existed.
He understood that to evaluate a proposal one had to know the motivation of the proposers.
He taught us that we can learn by doing.
But the economists have substituted a mythology of money in place of his science and they theorize endlessly rather than examine historical cases regarding money, as long as their patrons are in charge in the meantime during the arguing! They’ve proudly removed morality from their so called science, even attacking moral considerations by calling them “normative values”
But Morality is a key factor! The money system is society’s greatest dispenser of justice or injustice.
A good system functions fairly, helping create values for life.
A bad, unjust system obstructs the creation of values; gives special privileges to some and disadvantage to others causing unfair concentrations of wealth and power; leading to social strife and eventually warfare and a thousand unforeseen bad consequences – physical AND Spiritual- that now threaten the human species and even the planet.
We take our cue from Archbishop of Canterbury Templeton’s 1942 call for the nationalization of the Bank of England when he wrote: “What should be the servant has become the master.” In a 1942 speech that led to the nationalization of the Bank of England.
AMI’s intention is that money be the servant not the master of mankind. (see LSM, Ch.20)
That’s the reason monetary reform is of such paramount importance – because when held privately, monetary control gives far too much power into private hands. It creates a plutocracy – rule by wealth. It destroys humanity. It can run amok and destroy the planet!
This AMI conference is the modern movement for real monetary reform in America. Here are the broad parameters supported by over 3000 years of history:
The control of money systems must shift away from-One fact is that people who seriously study monetary reform – in our view all serious monetary reformers come to very similar conclusions. This is true historically whether they start from a Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Islamic or secular viewpoint. All these call for elimination of the “Fractional Reserve” System!
Private control and special privilege toward public control through government.
Away from commodity money notions toward legal systems.
Away from monetizing private or government credits and loaning them into circulation at interest,
And Move Towards Money directly issued interest free by Government and spent into circulation to promote the general welfare.
While we can’t know every detail reform will take until we get there - we know enough to assure far superior results to the present system which has placed us in a very deadly situation. Rather than arguing with those who essentially represent opposing interests the AMI prefers to move forward with a solid long-term program now. We can’t wait for others to have their monetary epiphanies or awakenings. And don’t forget among them are perhaps some who may not really be for reform at all.
There are three non negotiable minimum elements for monetary reform to achieve. Not negotiable because we know from history that without all three, reform is not really achieved; and not negotiable because we have already reduced them to a minimum:
FIRST is to put the Federal Reserve into the US Treasury and establish a Monetary Authority that reports to Congress, which manages the money system to be neither inflationary or deflationary.The bigger challenge for us is not what to do but how to do it, because of the political difficulties. These annual conferences will seek out some speakers with such experience.
SECOND is to reform the bank accounting procedures to stop banks or any other organization from creating any part of our money supply.
THIRD is for the government to start creating and spending money into circulation to repair the infrastructure deficit we face of about $2.2 trillion and we include in that the human infrastructure of health care and education.
The AMI Action Strategy for Reform is Direct and understandable. Everyone has always known that reform has its best chance under crisis conditions resulting from a fractional reserve debt money system as in the present crisis. Everyone knows that only under such crisis conditions can people emerge from their daily survival modes to coalesce into a political force to demand and get fundamental reform. So this present crisis gives us the opportunity to achieve reform, much as the Great Depression did.
It should be obvious to all that this crisis is an opportunity that must be used to demand and educate and organize for the real reforms.
How then should we view attempts to divert activity and energy into actions that reform nothing? How? As mistakes at best. Some have labeled such errors as a choice between what is called incrementalism, and actually getting the job done. Folks even if incrementalism might work, which it does not, wouldn’t “incrementalism” mean moving toward reform rather than away from the goal? But incrementalism in the monetary area works in the opposite direction, away from reform, towards more concentration of power into financier hands. As anyone can see, that’s where the monetary system has incrementally moved over the decades.
STATE BANKING? Doesn’t represent any reform at all. It’s Incrementalism away from reform!
This is about developing ways to work together to hand a better America and a better world to the next generation. And as we fulfill that sacred duty we should have a good time doing it! Lets get started!
Stephen Zarlenga is Director and Co-founder of the American Monetary Institute and author of The Lost Science of Money - The Mythology of Money - the Story of Power; also of a Refutation of Menger’s Theory of the Origin of Money (where Menger, founder of the Austrian School presents a false case for gold as money); he also wrote A Critique of Mitchell Innes Switchover from Gold to Credit (which presents the spurious case for credit as money, when the Federal Reserve began). He also authored Greening the Dollar created for the Green Party 2007 National Convention; plus many other articles.